'Parenthood' review: Haddie and sex, Amber and drugs, Crosby and his sad house

Last night’s Parenthood had some of the best parent-child interactions I’ve seen on TV in a while. Certainly the entire Haddie-has-sex, Adam-and-Kristina-react plot line was one that must have reverberated throughout many households.

The show played this out with exquisite tension. The initial scene was (intentionally) almost comic: Adam and Kristina overhearing Hattie and Alex having sex via an accidentally-placed phone call (these smart-phones — they’re too smart!). Then the initial lies — Haddie denying she’d done the deed; Kristina lying about the age at which she’d first done her deed — rang true as authentic reactions on the part of two panicked people.

And once Haddie decided that, okay, I’ll take you at your word, parents, and tell you the truth — well, this was most wrenching of all. I know I praise Peter Krause a lot here, but I thought the way he shut down communication with Haddie was perfect, so subtle. (It may also be that I was identifying like mad with Adam — I’m ashamed to admit that that’s probably what I would have done in this situation.) But great acting all around, and great final scene, when Adam picks up Haddie at her soccer practice.

As for Amber, well, I’d make a few jokes about what a magnificent screw-up she is, but that final car-crash scene kind of overrides the levity her rebelliousness can provoke. Up until then, however, I thought Mae Whitman did another impeccable job of taking Amber through the dissolution of her hopes and dreams. And her drugging and drinking set off all the fire-alarm-bells Lauren Graham’s Sarah hears when she’s confronted with the kind of substance-abusing that led to the demise of her marriage.

And: Crosby and that damn house. Didn’t I tell you last week the labor would be done mostly by Joel? Did your heart go out to Crosby when you heard Jasmine say, “I don’t think I’ll ever not be angry with him”?

Parenthood is barreling toward its season finale. Do you think Amber’s hospitalization will enable her to sober up in every sense? Do you think the positive pregnancy test discovered in the coming attractions is a fake-out, that it’s not Amber’s, but Julia’s?

What, in general, did you think of this week’s Parenthood?

Twitter: @kentucker

For more: ‘Parenthood’: Please don’t kill Gary

Comments (169 total) Add your comment
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  • Ericka

    Excellent episode all around. Wonderfully strong performances from everyone (Except Joy..whose ‘I’m pissed off’ eye rolls push an over acting border je n’aime pas) and Lauren knocked it out of the park..I felt like I’d been hit when she was. I couldn’t believe we’re already at the finale. Excellent ep.

    • Ab

      Agreed on Lauren, the minute when laughing with Amber at her mixup and the sudden realization that her daughter was actually high was perfect. She just stopped, as any parent would. The look was priceless.

      • Heidi

        this was the finale???
        I ached for Lauren as she grabbed on to Amber and grappled with her on the front lawn. I’ll bet she’s going to wish for the rest of her life that she held on just a bit harder so that Amber didn’t get in the car. Its so real it hurts me.

        I didn’t see the ‘coming up next promo’

      • M.Papes

        its not the finale, next week is the finale

      • Michael

        I LOVE THIS SHOW SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!

    • Sina

      Are y’all part of Lauren Graham’s PR team? She is the worst part of the show! I was hoping Amber pushed her into a rock.

      • Jamie

        To Sina – I’m not a part of Lauren’s PR team, I just happen to enjoy her performance as Sarah Braverman. She’s SO real to me and she shines in this series. That look when she realizes her daughter’s high is SO well played, I really felt for her character then!

      • Georgie

        Jabar and Crosby are the worst…..

      • me

        Sarah’s storyline is the WORST – has been the worst handled of all the characters. Lauren Graham was great last night but her character is insufferable!

        oh now she’s a playwright? and her very first draft of a play ever is picked up to be performed by the local theatre legend? total BS adn a slap in the face to real artists everywhere. They just don’t seem to know what to do with this character.

        Everyone and everything else on the show is superb.

    • Candace

      Well i didn’t notice any eye roll form her last night and her actng was spot on. I loved her, Joy is doing a great job on PH. Jasmine’s character needs to be fleshed out more, but i really like her. I love all the PH characters.

  • Ash

    I hope the pregnancy test is Julia’s. I’m not really a baby person but my heart went out to her when she found out a few weeks ago that it would be difficult if not impossible to get pregnant again. I think the acting on this show is wonderful.

    • Ally

      I would hope it’d be Julia’s..but why would Julia not take the test at her own house?

      • Kristen

        Another thing that bothers me about it being Julia’s was that it was wrapped up in like TP or a kleenex or something in the garbage like someone was trying to hide it. I don’t believe it’s Haddie’s one bit. If it is Kristina or Julia’s, they threw it out before the results showed up. Like maybe Max started pounding on the door to tell them about a new bug or something or Adam came home and they tossed it for privacy’s sake, then he took the garbage out and found it.

    • Erin

      I think it’s going to be Kristina’s positive test. Adam will probably freak out thinking it’s Haddie, but I have a feeling it’ll be Kristina.

      • Jeff

        In the original movie, Parenthood, Steve Martin became a father later in live with a surprise baby. I think it is Christina’s.

      • karoline

        I agree.

      • ginger

        Yep, me too.

      • Louise

        That was my first thought.

  • chrisyb

    Anyone think that Christina could be the one pregnant? That is my guess…it’s too obvious with Julia or even Haddie…

    • parkR

      or it could be…. Camille’s…. dun dun dunnnnnnn

      • mydove

        You’re a fool! Good one.

      • erika

        why would it be Julia’s when it’s in Adam and Kristina’s garbage can outside? I hope it’s Kristina. I’m kind of sick of all the teen pregnancy plot lines.. (see “Secret Life”, it’s going to happen on “Make It or Break It”)

    • Pam

      I do think it’s Christina, mostly because earlier in the episode I happened to notice that she was wearing an extraordinarily baggy shirt that may be hiding a real-life pregnancy.

      • j

        she was wearing a baggy top in last week’s prom episode, too…

    • bootsycolumbia

      I thought Kristina, too, after the first, panicked, oh, no, Haddie’s pregnant! reaction.

      • Lisa

        I think it’s Kristina too, my daughter and I both commented on what she was wearing early in the episode.

  • Dyanna

    I hope it’s Julia’s! That would be so much better than it being Haddie’s OR my initial thought, Kristina’s! But would Julia go to Adam’s house to take a pregnancy test (and not let Adam know)? I doubt it, it never seems like the siblings are all that tight with Kristina (and who would want to be? Can’t stand her!).

    • bootsycolumbia

      Oh, no, I have to stand up for Kristina. As a mom with a kid with a lot of special needs (very developmentally delayed, can’t talk, behavioral problems) I get Kristina. She is wound up tighter than a drum most of the time and she is a control freak, but having a kid with special needs will do that to you, believe me.

      • Heidi

        I agree. Love her. But I don’t really want them to be pregnant right now!
        In the movie version (which was out years and years ago) the parallel couple with the special needs son got pregnant – and the wife was happy while the husband wanted her to seriously consider having an abortion, but did accept it was her decision and eventually got very excited about it. We’ll see if they match up.

      • J. Norman

        Anyone considering that it could be Jasmine?

      • Tammy

        J. Norman, it couldn’t be Jasmine. Why would Jasmine be taking a test at Kristina and Adam’s house? The only Braverman she still talks to is Julia.

      • me

        agreed, the actress is doing a great job – so realistic!

    • Ireland

      Great stuff from you, man. I’ve read your stuff before and you’re just too awesome. I love what you’ve got here, love what you’re saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.

  • Dee

    Loved last night’s episode! Especially the storyline with Haddie and her parents. I hope the pregnancy test is Julia’s….or it might even be Kristina’s?

    • Dee

      Sorry, forgot to add that my favorite scene was definitely Adam picking Haddie up from soccer practice! So sweet and symbolic at the same time

      • Helenann

        And poignant, because she instantly became his ‘little girl’ again, and it juxtaposed the mentality of a 16 year old having sex so young…

      • Heidi

        As a mom of a teenage girl, I am just holding my breath for that whole reality and praying she’ll be smart/wise enough to wait – and that I’ll be wise enough to act like Peter and Kristina if she chooses to have sex earlier than I’d hope. Agh! I feel their pain!

  • Marion

    It was a fantastic hour of family drama. The show had me in tears throughout the episode.

  • eli

    I thought in the preview, the pregnancy test was implied to be Haddie’s. I sure hope it belongs to Julia too. I adore this show!

  • Kevin

    Seeing Lauren Graham express such rage and hopelessness was almost unnerving, but she was stellar as per usual.
    The Adam/Christina/Hattie interactions were just about perfect in terms of capturing realism, I will also admit I would have the same reaction as Adam. Monica Potter was fantastic, I feel as though I can really FEEL what she is thinking.
    Parenthood continues to be the best show on any network.

  • vickidr

    This show is so real. I don’t understand why it isn’t more popular. I think it’s one of the most well written and acted show currently on T.V.

    • Heidi

      I can agree that it’s very well written and acted, but still say that it doesn’t entertain me (I did try). All the family drama/angst is not relaxing for me to watch and for better or worse that is what I’m looking for when (and if!) I finally find time to sit down in front of the TV.

      • Heidi

        I’m a different Heidi :) and I agree with this Heidi BUT I still watch, I just watch it the next day rather than right before bed!

      • J. Norman

        I agree that this family certainly attempts to run the full gamut of problems a family could encounter. Let’s see, we haven’t done homelessness yet with this group. Sarahs son perhaps??

    • Captain Kirk

      As I watched the show last night I was surprised at how realistic the situations and reactions are. It’s definitely a great show and hopefully it will get renewed.

    • sandasavi

      This is a great show, both is writing and acting. I find it refreshing to watch since I am a Reality Show junky. I like to DVR it and watch it later when I have the time to take it all in. 10 pm is late for me, so if I am still up I tend to fall asleep, but when I watch it later I love it and can’t wait till next week. I love Lauren Graham, and even though she is still a Mom I love how different she is from her last Mom role!

    • Cookie

      it’s a great show, very real and educational in a way. the acting is great. The actors are just wow. But I’ll have a special mention to Lauren Graham (I’m just a real fan since Gilmore Girls). She is just an amazing actress.

      About the low ratings, it’s just that now because of all the complication of modern living, people tend to prefer feel good shows like comedy or action. I for one think that there is so much drama and angst and conflict in this show. I forward it if it feels too much for me. But I do love the show. I love the family moments. I love seeing the happy family moments but also the way they handle problems. They are there for each other, no matter what.

      This show has its audience. There are people who really love this. I hope it gets renewed. I really hate the numbers game. It’s mostly about ratings and money in mainstream entertainment.

  • Trixie

    At the beginning of the episode, I gasped so loudly at the sex-dialing of the parents. How humiliating for everyone involved! I’m surprised Kristina didn’t tell Haddie about that, actually.
    I thought it was a great episode, though I was a little annoyed that Kristina approached Haddie and said, “I want you to come and talk to me if you are having sex.” Then Haddie goes to her and admits that she and Alex are having sex, and Kristina seems speechless. I guess that’s realistic, though–I don’t know :).
    I also thought that the ‘work’ scenes with Adam seemed a little misplaced. I wasn’t sure what the point of them was. I guess it’s because we haven’t seen much of his work environment/’young boss’ issues for a while, and they wanted to update us that…yes, in fact, the new boss is still a young mellow dude.

  • conor O’Brien

    when I saw the headline ‘Parenthood’ Review: I thought it said Renewed and my heart jumped for joy, when will we find out if it’s getting a 3rd season?, I am sure it will, it’s doing as well as the (wonderful) Good Wife in the demos?

    • mydove

      We’ll know in May at the network’s upfronts I think they’re called.

    • Hannah

      Are you THE Conor O’Brien????!!?!?!

  • pat

    This is a terrific show with wonderful acting. Love it.

  • akri

    Excellent episode! I don’t like Haddie at all but that scene w/the dad was nice..And Lauren of course rocked it! I do hope enough ppl are watching and they return next season. Next week’s episode looks good too.

  • Maria

    The writers must be planning a flip for Jasmine’s character, because i cannot believe that they would consistently write her as the mean one. Now she seems cold and uncaring and that’s understandable, many women who suffer affairs choose to close themselves off as a way of protecting theor hearts. But when you juxtapose that with Crosby who is working his butt off to reconcile with her, Jasmine once again comes off looking like he badguy, the insufferable coldhearted woman. The fun stops with her. Why the writers would make Jasmine the only antagonist on this show is puzzling. This is why i think there will be some change in her heart next week. If not, they would have destroyed one of my favs.

    • Ab

      I actually don’t see it that way. I see it as neither one of them being anywhere near ready to get married. Jasmine is just as immature as Crosby but demonstrates it in a different way. She compensates by being overbearing at times (controlling everything Crosby did) and now by a complete inability to forgive. He demonstrates it by thinking a grand “hail Mary” gesture is what would work instead of working on the actual relationship part of it.

      • Heidi

        Well said, Ab

      • Candace

        ITA, neither are ready for reuniting. Jasmine thinks it’s too hard and won’t try, Crosby thinks it’s that easy and tries everything. They are frustrating to look at right now. I hope they spend the next season addressing their shortcomings in relationships.

      • Bill

        What are you indicating, man? I know eoryevnes got their own view, but really? Listen, your web site is cool. I like the hard work you put into it, specially with the vids and the pics. But, come on. Theres gotta be a better way to say this, a way that doesnt make it seem like most people here is stupid!

  • jason

    the drama on this show is so stinking realistic, the characters and their interactions are some of the most authentic I have ever seen on television. I hope Parenthood is around for years to come

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